Confidence, Realness and Beauty with Depth | AD

beauty advertising for women

I think a lot about beauty. Which would seem pretty obvious, seeing as though I spend a huge proportion of my life writing, talking and reading about it, but it goes beyond the sort of “formal thinking” that sees me researching skincare ingredients or scrutinising the longevity of a face base. I think about beauty when I see a striking woman as I walk down the street, or hug my Mum and smell a new perfume. I think about beauty in the supermarket, when I pass a magazine stand, when I flick through a cookbook, when I sort out the laundry. It’s something of an obsession.

And I’ve noticed, recently, that although I am becoming more and more passionate about beauty as the years go by, I seem to be developing a certain amount of disdain for many of the makeup and skincare trends that are prevalent today. Is that an age thing? Or do lots of women feel the same way as me? I’m a thirty-seven year old woman with a disposable income, very little free time and a penchant for nice things that give me a lift and a morale boost when life is stressful and relentlessly chaotic. I don’t need to know “three FREE ways to remove blackheads with household objects!” or “how to apply foundation with the sole of your shoe” and I definitely, absolutely one hundred percent do not want to cover myself with glitter. Unless it’s on a dress. I don’t want to overline my lips to the point where they look almost grotesquely heavy, or wear false lashes so big that I can barely open my eyes. I love a flawless look as much as the next person, but I don’t want to wear makeup so exaggerated and weirdly perfect that I end up looking like a Disney Princess!

beauty advertising for women

Which brings me neatly to the new You x Max Factor campaign, which represents – to put it bluntly – beauty for grownups. Beauty products designed for busy women, tips and tutorials that won’t make us want to eat our own hands with frustration and (again, being blunt!) advertising that will make us want to buy stuff. The campaign puts confident, busy women in the spotlight; it wants to represent the women we find inspiring and to cater for our beauty needs rather than following the latest craze.

Ultimately, it taps into who we are and what we want. We’ve got careers and passions, we are working on personal projects such as writing novels or house-renovating or building garden sheds; we make lists of things we want to achieve and keep journals where we record our progress. Some of us have families or are struggling to have families, most have been through important life changes or powerful, life-changing experiences. All sorts of things are going on, and there’s no reason why that shouldn’t be represented in the world of beauty. It’s Beauty with Depth, as the campaign describes it.

beauty advertising for women

Beauty with Depth is a pretty accurate description of what I personally like to see when I’m buying into beauty. It might be something in a video or image that’s humorous or cheeky, rather than bolshy or all-out power-woman, but it’s just that little bit more – that added character – that makes me sit up and take note.

An interesting bit of background material, because I do love some stats; the You x Max Factor campaign has been launched in response to a huge global survey that Max Factor carried out, interviewing women aged 30-55 about beauty, confidence and the sorts of products and advertising that they would like to see. The results were fascinating; only 17% of the women in the study felt that beauty advertising was aspirational – only a tiny 10% felt that beauty advertising represented relatable women!

And this idea of women in advertising being “relatable” is incredibly significant, because 88% of the women believed that beauty is a combination of appearance, personality and charisma. It’s not just about looks – it’s about character, and 80% of the women interviewed said that beauty advertising didn’t represent women’s character, which they feel is a key aspect of their beauty.

beauty advertising for women

And so Max Factor, in response to the survey, are completely changing the way they develop and advertise their products – from recognising that women are often incredibly busy (we need quick-fix makeup and plenty of it!) to using women in their advertising who are confident, have life experience, who feel that beauty is not just a flat image of a characterless face.

What do you find inspiring or aspirational in beauty? (Ruth’s Mini Survey time.) Does beauty advertising speak to you in a way that you like? Or do you find it flat, or condescending, or falling short of the mark? Do you want to be sold perfection, or does an appealing personality and little dose of humour do it for you every time? Answers on a postcard. You can find out more about the Max Factor You x Max Factor campaign on their Facebook page here and watch the campaign video below!

beauty advertising

This post is an advertorial for the You x Max Factor campaign.

© 2018 A Model Recommends®: all opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be clearly marked as an AD in the title. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. *Outbound links are affiliate links, which means that I receive a very small percentage of any sale made. This does not affect my content in any way and does not cost you anything, but you are most welcome to Google the products on a new page if you prefer. Please see here for full "about" section and disclaimer. A Model Recommends and Ruth Crilly are registered trademarks.



  1. Anja
    February 25, 2018 / 10:09 pm

    I’m not that interested in beauty advertising. The women/girls in it seem too flawless to even need any makeup! I don’t find them relatable. That’s why I like to read your blog I guess. (although most of the time, I still hate you, because you look too good and are too slim ) Seriously though: I like following you, because your character shines through everything you do, your humour, your personality. You are a real woman with real experiences, that makes it so much more interesting!

  2. Suzi
    February 25, 2018 / 11:15 pm

    Dior’s Capture Youth campaign ‘aimed at women in their thirties’ features the beautiful 25 year old Cara Delevingne. I’m fortunate enough to still pass for 25 at 31 but I’d rather see someone who looks ‘good for their age’ advertising products aimed at me than someone who was born in a different decade.

  3. Alicia
    February 26, 2018 / 5:22 am

    I am rarely inspired by advertisements. While I appreciate the artistic approach to some of the campaigns, what inspires me is how people embrace their own style and beauty, how they use products in new ways, how they challenge beauty standards. Right now I am in awe of people who are creating skincare and makeup products that reduce the use / inclusion of harmful ingredients, have sustainable packaging, or address beauty concerns by strengthening our bodies and health. Probiotics, plant-based cleansers, botanical-free oils, aloe-based foundations, and mineral colors… this approach to comprehensive beauty inside and out is what inspires me.

  4. Katie
    February 26, 2018 / 8:52 am

    I thought I was the only one… or worse, old at the grand ‘old’ age of 31!! Advertising is targeted at the teens and early 20s- my niece couldn’t believe I had pencilled my brows, because they looked natural – nuts. I also saw a how to video on ‘glittering your armpits’ – because no one wants ugly armpits?! Literally glitter… under your arm!

    • February 26, 2018 / 1:11 pm

      What is this fresh hell? Glitter arm pits?!

      • Katie W
        February 26, 2018 / 2:48 pm

        I know! Hell indeed- can you imagine dashing for the bus with a sparkly trail left behind?

        Your post is spot on though. I personally look for proven results and a strong reputation. If I’m spending on new beauty products, it’s because there is a skin concern I want to target… or you’ve suggested a new brand and my research backs up your posts!

        • February 26, 2018 / 8:14 pm

          Or glitter-encrusted sweat patches on clothes?

  5. Claire
    February 26, 2018 / 8:55 am

    Ruth you look so beautiful in this shoot and I would love to know the makeup used (am guessing it’s Max Factor)! I used to use all top end skincare and makeup until I had a sudden lump come up on my face which had to be cut out and left me with a 2 inch scar which has changed one half of my face. The hospital told me to only use boiled water on my face which got me thinking….. and I am now on a quest for clean beauty products, skincare and makeup. I now prioritise my purchases to ingredient based rather than trend driven and I hope that when people meet me they don’t focus on my scar but see the woman behind it!

  6. February 26, 2018 / 9:46 am

    I read about this campaign for the first time on Caroline Hirons blog, which Kind of answers your question: I don´t feel as if conventional ads are speaking to me, I rely on bloggers with personality and humour to introduce me to products I might consider buying.
    Preferrably bloggers that I can relate to, mothers, working women, fabulous and beautiful people that have passed the age of 30 a while ago.

  7. Jane
    February 26, 2018 / 10:19 am

    As a mid forties busy health professional, I’m just trying to find simple, no nonsense beauty advice from no nonsense people who are relatable. Give me personality and humour any day. The market is saturated with young, beautiful, (dare I say) fake and flawless beings that not only make me feel incredibly old, but totally disconnected from life. Thanks to people like you Ruth, I feel that there are people I can turn to to guide me in the right direction for skin care and makeup tips (sans glitter!)
    I love the ideology that Max Factor are showcasing with their latest campaign and hope that more brands target those of us who are just as normal as the next person.

    • February 26, 2018 / 1:10 pm

      I think that there will be such a turnaround with beauty soon. Women will start voting with their feet. x

  8. Robina
    February 26, 2018 / 10:39 am

    Ruth I love this article. It really reasonates with me. I am a 54 year old Asian women and for me it’s all about good skincare products and a low key flawless make up

  9. Annie
    February 26, 2018 / 12:23 pm

    Good article and I suppose it’s progress — but what is this cut-off age of 55? Because I’m older, am I invisible (although as far as beauty and those counters in department stores are concerned I’ve been invisible since I was 40-ish)? Do I not count? Should I not be interested any more? What shall I do with my beauty addiction then?!!! :)

    • February 26, 2018 / 1:07 pm

      Yes, that’s a whole new post – book – of discussion isn’t it? I assume the survey age range was to tie in with the majority of their consumer demographic, I’ll find out. x

  10. February 26, 2018 / 12:26 pm

    I love my bed, especially in winter!!! And now it’s snowing!!!

  11. February 26, 2018 / 1:29 pm

    I love this post. I’ve been steering away more and more from disposable make-up trends in favor of creating a sustainable skincare routine, focusing more on nourishing my skin instead of covering it up or desperately trying to turn back time with make-up. Beauty advertising lets me down on a regular basis, so I often look far and wide for other brands (and bloggers) geared towards people like me, on the cusp of 40 and with South East Asian skin.

  12. Jane
    February 26, 2018 / 5:13 pm

    I’ve been interested in makeup and skincare since I was 12 years old, ie a VERY long time as I will have my 50th birthday at the end of March. I used to love print adverts when I was in my late teens and 20s as I found them very aspirational. My feelings changed when I reached my mid 30s as I just didn’t feel represented any more, none of the models were my age any more. What gives me hope is that we are beginning to see older models now, like Helen Mirren, and also the fact that Lancome recently rehired Isabella Rossellini 20 years after they fired her as their model for being too old!!

  13. jane
    February 26, 2018 / 6:04 pm

    I really appreciate your post. One of the biggest issues for me is that I love beauty-related things, but find my demographic so under represented. I am 58 years old and all the advertisements, with the exception of Olay/Covergirl or L’Oreal are filled with much younger women. My needs are so different. I am not sure if Max Factor is still available in the U. S., but I would love to see more brands cater to women my age.

  14. February 27, 2018 / 4:27 pm

    Well… what can I say. I beg to differ. I am 48 years old, but most people tell me I look much younger. I believe I do. The Spring make-up trend is quite full of bright colours, e.g. Chanel, the new Urban Decay line with Kristen Leanne… and I love them! Not only that, I DARE TO WEAR THEM.

    Call me crazy, but I always find a way around to wear the latest trends in make-up that suits me. I love colour (eyeshadow is my favourite make-up item), and I own a ton of palettes, from glittery to full on colour matte ones and also the more neutral ones. I find is not that much what you wear but how.

    Ah yes, and if you’re confident, nothing else really matters.

  15. Emily
    February 28, 2018 / 1:23 am

    Excellent post, Ruth. I wish we could get Max Factor again in the states, because I like this campaign! To answer your survey question – the most inspiring thing in beauty advertising that I’ve seen lately is Lancome re-signing the drop-dead, amazingly gorgeous and aspirational Isabella Rosselini. I’m 49, and seeing women older than me in beauty ads that look fabulous and real is a rare and welcome thing.

    • February 28, 2018 / 10:52 pm

      She’s fabulous isn’t she? Do you know, I would like to see Natasha McElhone in a campaign. I loved her in Californication (with David Duchovny), I thought she was just amazing!

  16. jody
    February 28, 2018 / 7:45 am

    I look for products that target specific skin concerns (wrinkles!), are fairly industrial in their performance and are good value -not necessarily cheap, but worth the money. Like another poster, I am also getting more interested in sustainable packaging, ingredients etc. I have two small children similar in age to your own and I have approximately 7 minutes to get ready in the morning, so if I look like I’ve had more than 3 hours of sleep, it’s a win!

    • February 28, 2018 / 10:51 pm

      How did it even become possible that we are talking about 3 hours of sleep like that’s a great thing…*cries*
      I remember when I used to feel down in the dumps if I got less than nine.

  17. Rosie
    February 28, 2018 / 12:14 pm

    Do you know I didn’t even bother to play the Max Factor clip – just scrolled on down to the comments. That’s how interested I am in mainstream beauty advertising. As others have said I just don’t expect it to relate to me. The comments prompted me to play the clip and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised – a refreshing bit of advertising. I was just about to say we older ladies (I’m 48) desperately need advertising we can relate to but realised that’s not true for me – the great thing about online beauty advertising i.e. Instagram, bloggers etc. is you don’t have to be bombarded with alienating, unattainable or downright depressing advertising as you have control over what you follow, what you allow to shape your perception of beauty and ultimately I guess how you feel about yourself. Picture perfect, superficially smooth messages are out for me, real intelligent and interesting is in – in my book. One of the reasons I follow you of course!

    • February 28, 2018 / 10:50 pm

      That’s a really good point re choosing who you follow, people who you relate to. I think as social media is evolving people are becoming far more decisive about unfollowing people who don’t appeal or following new people who make them feel good. x

  18. Mum
    March 1, 2018 / 12:52 pm

    Ooooooo how about a 67 year old’s tips or is that pushing the age barrier????? In my teenage years we only had Max Factor and Ponds cold cream and Nivea and soap and water, which meant my Mum’s towels were covered in black mascara; I was a complete beauty fanatic, making concoctions from rose petals and coating my hair in camomile powder, whilst it dripped unmercifully over the bathroom floor in urine coloured dribbles and was reluctant to be washed out under the wash basin tap with jugs of hot water!!!!. I have started my blog again Ruth but so far only three people were interested and as it takes HOURS and HOURS to do I am waiting for a bigger response? Or not? I missed your eyebrow give away. Loved my eyebrows after the L’Oreal campaign

    • March 1, 2018 / 8:37 pm

      Oh hi Mum! I started reading your comment and thought, oooh this person sounds just like Mum! Haha.

      • Onya1213
        March 18, 2018 / 5:57 pm

        You two are a riot. And refreshing.

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